Bengaluru-based electric two-wheeler mobility startup Yulu said it has raised USD 4 million led by US-based VC firm Rocketship joined by existing investors. The funding will be used to ramp up research and development.
Yulu said it has raised more than USD 20 million in total till now from investors including Bajaj Auto Ltd, Blume Ventures, 3one4 Capital, Wavemaker, and Rocketship, among others.
The company had raised USD 8 million in November last year from Indian auto maker Bajaj. As part of the investment, Yulu had said that Bajaj would provide resources for research and development as well as manufacture the startup’s portfolio of electric vehicles (EVs) in India to reduce its dependency on China in manufacturing.
“This money comes with a lot of value. Bajaj brings us huge value on the manufacturing side. But Rocketship’s core competency is around technology, specifically in machine learning and data sciences,” Amit Gupta, co-founder and CEO at Yulu, told KrASIA.
Gupta said, since the company extensively uses IoT, AI, and machine learning, it generates a lot of high-quality data, and with its core-expertise in this space, Rocketship can help Yulu do much more than what it’s able to do now. “Moreover, it helps to have investors based in the US as it opens up new avenues for us. Rocketship’s founders and their team would take things to the next level,” Gupta said.
Rocketship has invested in a handful of Indian startups including account management firm Khatabook, online rental startup NoBroker, mobility startup Jugnoo, e-commerce firm Snapdeal, B2B e-commerce company Moglix, and omnichannel platform Fynd, which was acquired by Reliance in 2019.
Yulu claims to have a mix of 18,000 electric and non-electric bikes available for daily commuters across six cities including Bengaluru, New Delhi, Pune, Mumbai, Ahmedabad, and Bhubaneswar.
The company took a severe hit during the over two months long lockdown that started in late March. To remain relevant and not lose out on revenue, it started partnering with several e-commerce companies and hyper-local delivery startups to enable the delivery of everyday essentials.
The company claimed it has seen a ‘V-shape’ recovery post-lockdown due to the surge in demand for solo, safe, and sanitized mobility solutions.
“In the first week of May, when the lockdown was partially lifted, we started the service and witnessed a good uptick in usage. Since we don’t have drivers or a co-passenger, we believe it’s the best and safest option to commute compared to buses or taxis,” Gupta said. He said, initially the company recorded 15-20% increase in users every month, which has increased to 40% post-lockdown.
“Yulu has gained market share from other modes where people were using auto rickshaw, buses, or taxis. They have moved from those transport options to Yulu,” he added.